“I’m super excited but also very nervous. My preparation is going well and I’m including lots of climbing and tempo work,” said De Villiers, who recently won the mixed-team category in both Trans Baviaans events.
She said the challenge was to not get sick after the two Eastern Cape races. Fortunately she felt healthy and was putting in the last hard training sessions.
“I have no expectations for worlds. I just want to enjoy the whole experience and give it my best, regardless of the result.”
The 45-year-old foresaw the challenge of the 89km course being the “huge mountains”, which meant plenty of steep climbs.
“All in all, I can’t wait to just race in Europe and compete with the top riders in the world.”
She added that she loved both long and short climbs. “Just as long as I’m going up – and hopefully my legs will fly with me to Italy.”
Jet lag and altitude were two other obstacles she expected to encounter.
De Villiers’s strategy will be to start conservatively, get her rhythm going and then finish fast and strong.
“It’s going to be a proper mountain-bike race – hard from start to finish. I’ll just give it my best and enjoy it.”
The Oudtshoorn local felt happy with her current form. “I think it’s normal to always wish you could or must be fitter, but I feel good about it right now.”
De Villiers said she was not aiming for a top finish as the standard was “super high”, with her fellow contenders being full-time professionals.
“It’s such a wonderful event to be part of and I’m really blessed and thankful to be able to go there.
“My friends from town recently organised a fundraiser for me, which consisted of a three-course meal and auction. With their help, I have enough money to make this world championship dream a reality.”